Refugee children learning the ABCs of life in Montreal
Published Tuesday, March 15, 2016 2:56PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, March 15, 2016 7:05PM EDT
Since January the Commission Scolaire de Montreal has welcomed 172 refugees into its elementary and high schools.
One class at Francois de Laval school in Ahuntsic has 11 Syrian refugees aged six and seven years old.
Two months into their schooling, their teacher Evelyn Bissonnette said she is quite impressed with how these children are adapting.
Bissonnette teaches a French integration class with 15 students who are learning and having fun.
She said the first two weeks was the hardest because some children had never been to school. Some children knew a bit of French, while others didn't know a single word.
After two months, the students are now able to speak to each other in French.
"I'll take a bit more time to explain, and to make links with their mothehr language even though I don't speak Arabic," said Bissonnette.
She teaches grade one and two, and is focusing on the basics of speaking and reading comprehension.
"Because they are six and seven years old, so grade one and two, we do the same thing. We've learned the alphabet, but now starting to learn how to read," said Bissonnette.
Bissonnette said she is impressed but how strong and resilient her students are.
In integration classes, a social worker acts as the link between parents, community resources, and the school.
That social worker tells parents how school works in Montreal, and basic tips such as sending them to school with a packed lunch and making sure the children are dressed appropriately.
It takes anywhere from 18 to 24 months for children to learn enough language skills, and remedial courses, to catch up with their peers.